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a limited monarchy. By the larger part of Christendom the Council was held to be a power in the Church superior to the Pope himself. We have a century of Councils,-—at Pisa, Constance, Basle, Ferrara, Florence, and for their result, a brief period which the historian points out as "the culmination of Latin Christianity," when the Catholic world was once more at peace, and Nicolas V., in his wise, firm, and enlightened rule, inaugurated the grand modern era of Roman Art. The Lollard persecution and the Hussite war had conquered to the Church one more century of security and quiet. But revolutionary forces were gathering, which the spiritual arm was impotent to control. Elements of weakness and decay were brooding, which ecclesiastical discipline was faithless to suppress. Nicolas V. himself died in grief and dread at the fall of Constantinople and the threatening advance of the Ottoman power. One more attempt to rouse the lax faith of Christendom to a new Crusade, one more effort of the Mystics to revive the antique piety, of reforming Councils to suppress immorality within, of persecutors to restrain infidelity without, and the austere, magnificent, invincible dominion of Hildebrand or Innocent speedily declines to the unspeakable moral corruption of Alexander Borgia, the secular pride and military ambition of Julius II., the worldly infidelity of Leo X., the spiritual impotence and contempt which led to the Reformation under Luther.
As we approach the boundary between mediæval and modern history, we need not say that the interest of our subject no way lessens; while we are, if possible, even more struck with the ability, the fulness, and the diligence with which it has been treated in the work under review. Such titles as the Process of the Templars, Rienzi, Wycliffe, John Huss, and the Religious War in Bohemia, indicate in part the breadth and richness of the field here traversed. And we would not pass without notice the thorough and admirable "Survey " of the whole mediæval period, with which the work concludes, discussing, in ten elaborate essays, the religious belief, the literature, philosophy, and art, that have grown up along with, or out of, "Latin Christianity." But all these, in our present view, are of less interest than that vast overshadowing do
minion, from which it required the most terrible and obstinate struggle of all history to emancipate the nations; and which, though with shadowy sceptre and faltering hand, still at each crisis of European events affects to wield the ancient thunders of the Vatican.
ART. VI.-PASSAGES FROM THE LIFE OF SCHLEIERMACHER.
Aus Schleiermacher's Leben. In Briefen. Berlin. 1858.
THIS pleasingly German title introduces a pleasingly German book in two volumes. It presents passages "from Schleiermacher's life." It does not profess to be a biography, or to give a detailed account of all that Schleiermacher wrote and all that he accomplished. It gives some glimpses of how he lived. These glimpses are furnished by no outside descriptions, but by his own letters, letters which deal very little in narration, and are nowhere a mere journal of events. It is therefore a picture of the interior life of Schleiermacher, drawn unconsciously to himself.
These letters are connected by a slender thread in the shape of a Preface to each division of the book, which explains sufficiently the circumstances under which they were written, introducing some of the characters to whom Schleiermacher alludes in his letters, and to whom he writes. This is the most attractive form in which a biography can appear. It has the interest of a portrait which has created itself. It does not appear in the forced position of a daguerrotype, taken consciously under the glare of an inquisitive sun, in a close, stupefying atmosphere. It expresses itself.
Some remarks in the Preface to the whole book show how it was a necessity of Schleiermacher's character to carry into all the relations of life his own deepest convictions, never suffering anything that was purely conventional in his intercourse with other men. This gives an especial charm to his letters to his friends, in which he is not satisfied with a mere show of words, but insists upon filling with them VOL. LXXII. 5TH S. VOL. X. NO. I.
his own true nature. "A letter," he says, "is a regular piece of work, and it must in its peculiar manner be applied to, even while it comes from, the heart." And these letters combine a vigor of thought with the impulsiveness of a warm
In former pages of the Examiner, the character and works of Schleiermacher have been discussed, and honor has been paid to his wide influence and peculiar position as reformer, preacher, and thinker; and it is unnecessary to dwell here upon all that this influence has already exercised, and is yet to exercise. It is interesting to see, in these private letters to intimate friends, how the greatness of the man betrays itself, the largeness of his aims, and the generosity of his habit of thought. While there is no summing up of work done, always rather a regret for the little that has been accomplished, they show the industry and close application of the German student from his earliest years. There is constant allusion to labor, the variety of which would astonish even an American, to which his letters are a mere interruption, labor upon such things as critical writings, contributions to the Athenæum, and other literary essays, his Discourses upon Religion, his translation of Plato, etc., all being incidental to his duties as a preacher. He exclaims:
"You see I am again brought up at the beginning of the fifth Discourse. Why are beginnings so difficult? It seems as if ideas followed the law of gravitation. The heavier ones collect toward the centre, and the lighter ones lose themselves so gradually in the general space surrounding, that one in vain seeks for the outer beginning of the line of attraction, and in the end is obliged to determine arbitrarily the limits of this atmosphere by some one decisive sentence.”—Vol. I. p. 220.
The earlier part of the first volume of this work is devoted mostly to the correspondence between Schleiermacher and his father and mother. Many of these letters were written at the time of his separation from the Moravian community, and his breaking his connection with that sect, leaving the Moravian institution at Barby, and establishing himself at Halle, much to the anxiety and sorrow of his father. In his letters to him, explaining his dissatisfaction with the narrowing limits of the Moravian institutions, while he speaks decisively of his
own opinions, it is always with tenderness toward those of his father. It is among these letters that we find this concise expression of opinion:
"I cannot believe that he who only called himself the Son of man was the ever-true God; I cannot believe that his death was an intercessory atonement; because he nowhere expresses it so, and because I cannot believe it was necessary. For God, since he has not created men for perfection, but only to strive for it, could not possibly punish them because they are not perfect.” — Vol. I. p. 45.
It is interesting to find how the mind of Schleiermacher preserved its consistency of opinion, for we find him, more than forty years afterwards, writing to his wife thus:
"I have something at heart to say about your letter to Hildchen, dearest mother. You are constantly in the habit of speaking always of the Saviour, and allowing God to remain in the background. If indeed it is the Saviour who speaks to us through nature, then must there be no longer a direct relation with God permitted. And yet he himself glorifies that we through him should come to God, and that the Father abides with us. The true simplicity of Christianity perishes otherwise in an arbitrary way, such as Christ himself would not have approved of. May the poor child only not become confused between your manner of teaching and mine! Dearest heart, hold fast to this, with Christ and through him, to rejoice freshly and joyfully in God, our Father and his."- Vol. II. p. 434.
The latter part of the first volume, and the first part of the second, contain the most interesting letters. They embrace the period of Schleiermacher's residence in Berlin as preacher at the Charité hospital there, at Stolpe as court preacher, at Halle as professor, and again at Berlin as professor, "at the earlier period of his life, while he stood alone in the world, when it was a necessity of his heart to express all that moved his inner life by the most intimate communications with friends, both men and women." (Preface, pp. 3, 4.)
His letters to his sister give more of a journal of Schleiermacher's life than we find in his other letters. He seemed to consider it a duty to sit down, two or three times a year, and give her an account of his doings, the friends he had made, and his manner of thought. As she was still attached to the
Moravian community, these were frequently at variance with her views; and his letters therefore often assume a defensive tone. In one of them he says:
"Tell me, dear, do you not act too closely upon the system of social life which prevails in the Moravian community? and do you not bring too little into account the difference between the community and the world? In the community, one is educated by solitude and silent meditation; in the world, this education can only be gained by manifold and well-combined activity. These are two different ways, but both are good; and every man has only to see that he hits upon that which is suitable to his nature, and that he places himself fairly where he can best follow this out. A man who wishes to develop himself rather in affairs, or as the family friend in many different homes, would be a very superfluous person in the community; indeed, he would there be worthy of blame, and would in every way do much better to remove himself from it, because he could not adapt himself to the community principles. But of as little use in the world would that man be who wished to shut himself up within himself, and live in your way. He would fill his place in life but poorly, and, in the midst of the world, would be but a member of the community, and would do better to go into it. I could promise to find in the world a hundred thousand respectable men who would not understand you at all when you say that this multifarious life, this divided interest, hinders self-observation and the knowledge of one's own heart. They would say such was the only means of arriving at such a knowledge. We cannot learn to know ourselves, nor at the same time to know other men, if we do not see active life; and much must remain hidden in our natures if not brought out by new and varying relations and events. You see how different the points of view may be, and will also easily see that each may be right in its own way. It is with the soul as with the body: the body, if accustomed to a small and sparing diet, may easily be affected by something in itself apparently small. One accustomed to stronger and more frequent incentives requires more active provocatives to produce any effect. The first is your case, in your quiet and simple life; little things to which one is not susceptible in the world lead you to meditation, and disclose something to you. This is a privilege; and I give thanks to my community life that I possess it in a higher grade than men whom I know in the world, who require to be thrown into a great excitement to gain any profit. . . . .
"There is, indeed, a true intermediate position between a business and worldly life and a life among the brethren. In order to compare